Fiji is an archipelago and country located in the South Pacific Ocean. It consists of more than 300 islands and 540 islets that occupy an area of 1,000,000 square miles.
Here are some facts about Fiji.
1. About 100 islands that are part of Fiji are inhabited
Fiji is an archipelago that is made up of 300 islands and 540 islets. About 100 of those islands are inhabited. The country’s capital, Suva, is on the largest island, called Great Fiji or Viti Levu.
2. Half of Fiji remains forested
Half of Fiji’s territory is covered in forests. The larger islands have dry grasslands and almost any tropical vegetable and fruit can be grown on them. Coconut palms are also found in most coastal areas of the country. Additionally, there are also mangrove swamps and reefs.
3. The country depends primarily on tourism
The principal market in Fiji is based on tourism. Agriculture also plays an important role in the economy. Some of the products they cultivate are copra, kava, taro, cocoa, cassava, pineapples and bananas. Fishing also occurs, as well as sugarcane production and manufacturing.
4. Fiji’s newest constitution was adopted in 2013
This country used to be part of Great Britain and it was not until 1966 that they had their first constitution, a fun fact about Fiji. Four years later, they declared their independence from Great Britain. Until 1987, they were a member of the Commonwealth. That year, they overthrew the government twice in military coups and the nation was expelled from the Commonwealth. It then became a republic.
In 1990, a new constitution was created. There, they established that the Prime Minister would be appointed President. However, in 2006, another military coup took place and an interim government assumed as leader of the country. In was not until September 2013 that a new constitution was promulgated.
5. Captain James Cook was among the first Europeans to sight the Fiji Islands
Captain James Cook and the Dutch explorer Abel Janzsoon Tasman were the first people from Europe to sight the Fiji Islands. Janzsoon passed the northeast fringe of the group in 1643 and Cook passed the southern islands in 1774.
6. There is a large Indian population
The Indian population in Fiji dates back to 1813. That year, an Indian sailor survived a shipwreck and stayed in Fiji for the rest of his life. Other Indians that have arrived come mostly from Pradesh, Uttar and Bihar. They travel to the archipelago looking for work, especially in the sugarcane industry, an interesting Fiji fact.
7. They have three official languages
Fiji has not only one but three official languages. These are English, Fijian and Fiji Hindi. It is one of the few countries that have three official languages. English is taught in schools and it is very useful for their tourism sector. However, there are also almost 200 dialects that derive from Fijian.
8. Kava is the traditional drink
The country’s national and traditional drink is Kava. It is a beverage made of the ground root of a plant that is part of the pepper family, a fun fact about Fiji. In addition, Fijians believe that this drink has medicinal qualities, especially for cases of insomnia, migraines and stress.
The traditional method used for extracting kava consists of adolescent boys chewing it into a pulp. It is them spit into a communal pot and squeezed through coconut fiber. The drink is usually enjoyed by the ocean during the sunset.
9. Rugby is the preferred sport
Fiji’s national sport is rugby and it was introduced by the British when the archipelago was under their rule. The seven aside is the most popular form of the sport that is played in Fiji. They have also earned an Olympic medal in rugby. They obtained gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. In the Hong Kong Sevens championship, they have been victorious 15 times.
10. Fijians can walk on fire
If you have seen people practicing walking on hot stones, you should know that this was invented in Fiji. It started in Bega Island with the Sawau tribe. It is a tradition that even today is passed down through generations and people from all over the world travel to see it in person.
11. At some point, they practiced cannibalism
The Fijians practiced cannibalism until they were introduced into Christianity. There is evidence that they were cannibals for at least 2,500 years and it was widely practiced throughout the country. The last records of cannibalism victims in Fiji are reverend Thomas Baker, a missionary of the Methodist church, and seven of his companions in the 1860s. It is said that he offended one of the chiefs of the tribe and that is why he was killed and eaten.
Some of the humans that were usually eaten in Fiji were previously sacrificed for religious purposes. This was a common practice that took place when they built temples in devotion to their gods.
12. 800 species of plants are found only in Fiji
Fiji has about 800 species of plants that can be found nowhere else in the world. The tagimoucia flower is the most famous of them. It grows on a single mountain ridge on the island Taveuni that is part of this country, an interesting fact about Fiji.
This flower is very special to Fijians. It appears in many local stories and it is featured on Fiji’s $50 bill.
13. There are 4,000 square miles of coral reef
This country is also known as the “soft coral capital of the world” because it has 4,000 square miles of coral reef. Here, over 1,000 species of fish live and it is a great place for snorkeling and diving.
Many travelers who decide to visit Fiji say that it is a beautiful country that is worth to experience in person. It may be far away for many, but it is a place where you will enjoy amazing landscapes, culture and history.
I hope that this article on Fiji facts was helpful! If you are interested, visit the Country Facts Page!